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Reason and Reciprocity in Hobbes's Political Philosophy: On Sharon Lloyd's: Morality in the Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes

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Lloyd's book, Morality in the Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, correctly stresses the deductive element in Hobbes's proofs of the laws of nature. She believes that “the principle of reciprocity” is the key to these proofs. This principle is effective in getting ego-centric people to recognize moral laws and their moral obligations. However, it is not, I argue, the basic principle Hobbes uses to derive the laws of nature, from definitions. The principle of reason, which dictates that all similar cases be treated similarly, is. It is important not to diminish the centrality of reason for Hobbes because it is essential to understanding his reply to “the fool” and understanding why the state of nature cannot be a continuum.

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